Sunday, August 22, 2010

Soap (sohp) — n 1. A cleaning or emulsifying agent made by reacting animal or vegetable fats or oils with sodium hydroxide.

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Uhhh so tell me, how do you actually make soap?  Yeah, that stuff that makes you feel all clean and stuff.  If you have ever wondered how you actually make soap, here is the simplified version!

The type of soap I make is called Cold Process.  There are many other forms of soap making, but I like cold process because it is a very creamy bar of soap and lasts a very long time.  I make soap in 3 lb. batches, and I use a log mold.  There are all different kinds of molds and all kinds of ways to make soap, this is just the way I do it!  If you are interested in soap making, Google it.  Also, visit The Soap Dish; thats a forum where soap makers from all over give tips and stuff like that!  YouTube also has tons of videos explaining everything about soap making.

Step One:
First things first, get that mold lined!  I use freezer paper to line my mold.  It is waxy on one side which prevents the soap from sticking to it.  My dad does a bunch of wood working so I was very happy when he said he would make me my wooden mold!  TOG Soap Molds is a great place to get a wooden mold.
I actually looked up a YouTube video to learn how to line my mold.  This video is very good!
There is my finished lined mold!

Step Two:
Make the lye water.  This is the part where people freak out.  Lye can actually burn your skin if you touch it, so wear gloves.  However, when the lye is mixed with oils, a chemical reaction takes place.  This reaction makes soap, thus leaving no lye in the finished product.  Don't worry though, every time I make a new log of soap, it is tested on my family and myself!  I would never sell a lye-heavy soap (which can cause skin irritation). 

Step Three:
Measure out your oils!
All of the soap at Revive is created with 100% vegetable oils; so all soap is vegan.  The oils I use include: organic palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and sunflower oil.  Each oil has different properties that add that something special to the finished bar.  Some oils may make the bar hard, some give lather, while others are moisturizing and Revive your skin!
Since the organic palm oil and coconut oil are solid, you must melt them.  Then keep measuring out the other oils until each one is added into the pot!

Step Four:
Add the lye water to the oil mix.
As you can see, once you add the lye water to the oils, it immediately starts the chemical reaction.  The oil is no longer clear.  Thats a good thing!  Keep on mixing it.  I bought a stick blender at a local store to help with the mixing.  You need to mix the soap until it reaches "trace."  Google it.

Step Five:
Now here comes the fun part!  Once the soap has reached trace, you can add colorant and the essential oils.  The soap I am making in these pictures is a new kind, which I do not have a name for yet!  But for this soap, the main part will be light blue, and the top will have a layer of grey.  I use micas to color my soap.

The micas mixed in makes the soap all prettified!
You can see in the above picture my jar of essential oils.  I will add the scent to the blue part only.  The essential oils in this batch include coriander, fir, and pink grapefruit.
Adding the essential oils.
And finally, mix the oils in!  By this time, your whole kitchen will be smelling of wonderful essential oils.

Step Six:
Get your mold ready, and pour!

The finished product.  Now, it will still be in the liquid state.  But no worries, but put the top of your mold on, and set it in a place no one will disturb it for 24 hours.  Also, wrap a towel around it.  When the soap has been poured in the mold, the chemical reaction is still taking place.  The towel helps keep the heat in and the chem reaction going until the whole thing has turned into soap!

Step Seven:
Now, after all of that hard work, you can finally see what you soap looks like!  Remember, make sure to let your soap sit for 24 hours before this step.
What a beautiful log of soap!  Now wouldn't it be funny seeing that whole thing in someones bathroom? :)

The Final Product:
Even though it is soap, it is recommended to let the soap "cure" for up to a month.  Curing is where the left over water in the soap evaporates creating a hard bar which lasts for a longgg time.  The longer it cures, the longer the bar of soap will last.  When I make soap, I use a method called Discounted Water Cold Process.  (Do not attempt this method if it is your first time making soap; your bars will come out to be lye heavy!)  This process allows for a shorter cure time.  All of my soaps cure for ten days.  So unfortunately, this soap is not ready for sale yet, but it will be by the end of next week.

If anyone has any name ideas for this soap, I would love to hear them!  I have no ideas what I will name any ideas are helpful.  Sometimes I like to do a play on words towards the scent or the color, so just let me know what you come up with!

Scented with Lime, Tangerine, Orange, and Thyme Essential Oils

Soap making is a wonderful hobby.  I love it because I like to be creative, but I'm an awful artist.  I cannot even draw a stick person that looks good! Haha so I would encourage anyone looking for something new to get into, buy a soap making kit.  Once you catch the soap bug, there is no going back!  I know I caught it, and now I want soap making to turn into a career for me.  Hopefully one day in the far future soap will be what I do for a living!

Wow, long posting.  I gotta get to sleep!  The second week of college starts tomorrow.  Oh, I hope I did my English homework correctly.. :)

Have a Reviving Day!


  1. How fun! Thanks for showing the process. How about "Blue Heaven" for the soap name? Since I can't smell it, I'm just envisioning the scent. Good luck with your shop and studies!

  2. Wow, that was neat to read. I had no idea how soap was made. It looks fabulous, love the two colors together. I have a name for you: "She blue me a kiss" or "Under the sea"? I always wanted the job of the person who gets to name the nail polishes, lol.

  3. As someone who had no clue how soap was made, that was a really neat look at the process. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I love seeing this process- very cool!

    P.S. I had the same countertops as you at my old house! lol

  5. wow intense! cool pictures of the process!

  6. CP is amazingly fun once you get the hang of it!

    Have you checked out the soap dish forum? :)

  7. Neat process! Most of what I knew about soap was learned from Fight Club, so your post was quite educational. ;D

  8. Great seeing the process of it all. I have never tried making soap before.. looks like a lot of fun. ;)

  9. Very cool! Making soap looks pretty fun!
    P.S. that sweet citrus bar sample you sent with my order... it smells sooo good!